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News Releases
Anglers remove more than 100,000 predators from river system during the pandemic - 01/14/21

Portland, Ore. – The Bonneville Power Administration and its partners report that in 2020, for the 23rd consecutive season, the Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program met its annual goal to remove 10% to 20% of pikeminnow, 9 inches or longer, in the Columbia and Snake rivers that prey on juvenile salmon and steelhead.

  • Fish removed                              103,114
  • Registered anglers                     2,450
  • Average angler catch                 6.5 fish/day
  • Total paid to anglers                 $839,461
  • Top angler
    • Fish removed                     5,579
    • Total earnings                  $48,501

The program, funded by BPA and administered by Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and the states of Oregon and Washington, has run for 30 years, typically from May 1 through Sept. 30. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak last spring, governors in Washington and Oregon closed or limited fishing in some areas and curtailed access to some boat ramps. Those facilities were reopened later in May and the sport reward program began 11 days later than usual. To help make up for the delayed start, the season was extended to Oct. 11, 2020. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic presented some unique challenges for implementing a sport-reward fishery that relies on recreational angler participation,” said Eric Winther, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Columbia River Predator Control Program project leader. “We realized in the spring that circumstances would require some flexibility in how we operated the registration stations and that many of our return anglers might have to rethink their own recreation plans. All things considered, despite the late start to the season, anglers were able to spend a full five-month season on the rivers and remove thousands of pikeminnow for the program.”

When the season opened May 11, registered anglers again had the opportunity to make $5 to $8 for each northern pikeminnow at least 9 inches long, and specially tagged northern pikeminnow were worth $500. Program managers temporarily increased the reward to a flat $10 per fish late in the season to spur angler participation – which was a bit lower than normal due to the pandemic – and to take advantage of favorable river conditions during the season’s 11-day extension in October. However, the program will resume its pre-pandemic bounties when the northern pikeminnow season kicks off again in spring of 2021.

The goal of the sport reward fishing program is to reduce the number of larger northern pikeminnow in the Columbia and Snake rivers. Since 1990, anglers paid through the program have removed more than 5.2 million predatory pikeminnow.

“Northern pikeminnow is a native species that eats millions of juvenile salmon and steelhead each year in the Columbia and Snake river systems,” says Eric McOmie, BPA program manager. “When we remove the larger northern pikeminnow, more young salmon and steelhead have a better chance of making it to the ocean and eventually returning to the basin as adults.”

Biologists estimate that the program has reduced predation on young salmon and steelhead by up to 40% from pre-program levels.

The 2021 season is expected to operate from May 1 through Sept. 30, 2021. For more information about the program, call 800-858-9015 or visit www.pikeminnow.org.

About BPA

The Bonneville Power Administration, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is a nonprofit federal power marketer that sells wholesale, carbon-free hydropower from 31 federal dams in the Columbia River Basin. It also markets the output of the region’s only nuclear plant. BPA delivers this power to more than 140 Northwest electric utilities, serving millions of consumers and businesses in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, western Montana and parts of California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. BPA also owns and operates more than 15,000 circuit miles of high-voltage power lines and 261 substations, and provides transmission service to more than 300 customers. In all, BPA provides nearly a third of the power generated in the Northwest. To mitigate the impacts of the federal dams, BPA implements a fish and wildlife program that includes working with its partners to make the federal dams safer for fish passage. It also pursues cost-effective energy savings and operational solutions that help maintain safe, affordable, reliable electric power for the Northwest. www.bpa.gov  

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Bonneville Power Administration working on power line outages - 01/13/21

Bonneville Power Administration working on power line outages
Utility customers working on multiple outages on their systems as well

Portland, Oregon – Heavy winds and saturated soil have combined to take BPA power lines from the central Oregon Coast to the Puget Sound coast and areas inland out of service.

“This storm hit us hard on the coast and the west side overnight,” said John Lahti, BPA Transmission Field Services vice president. “Our crews are working to assess the damage and repair lines as quickly and safely as possible to restore power to our customers experiencing outages.”

Multiple field crews are responding to the outages and damage. If you have questions regarding BPA outages, please contact Doug Johnson, BPA senior spokesperson at 503-713-7658.

Regional Reaction to John Hairston selection as BPA administrator/CEO - 01/07/21

Regional Reaction to John Hairston’s selection as BPA administrator and CEO

“We appreciate DOE making a timely decision on the BPA administrator selection because there are a lot of important cost reduction and revenue enhancement initiatives in motion and we need that leadership continuity,” said Scott Simms, executive director of the Public Power Council. “We congratulate John Hairston and think now is a good time to review BPA’s engagement on key issues of urgency and importance to the region. We look forward to working with John to ensure BPA’s priorities are aligned with those of Northwest public power and the communities they serve.”

“On behalf of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, we congratulate John Hairston as the new administrator for BPA,” said Kathryn Brigham, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Board of Trustees chair. “We have a strong relationship with Mr. Hairston and look forward to working with him as co-manager of natural resource and in protecting our Treaty Rights in accordance with the Treaty of 1855.”

“On behalf of the Colville Confederated Tribes, I would like to congratulate Mr. Hairston as the new administrator for the Bonneville Power Administration,” said Rodney Cawston, chairman, Colville Confederated Tribes. “The Colville Tribe has a long history working with BPA on policies, operations and decisions regarding the Columbia River. We look forward to working with Mr. Hairston, who brings extensive experience and knowledge to this position. We look forward to a successful journey together.”

"Northwest Requirements Utilities is pleased DOE heeded our calls and selected a highly qualified candidate to fill the BPA Administrator position,” said John Francisco, CEO at NRU. “John Hairston has been attentive to the needs and concerns of Load Following customers in his role as interim Administrator and his continued leadership will be crucial as we work through the many challenges facing BPA and the utilities represented by NRU. We look forward to working closely with John and his staff to chart a sustainable course for the future that continues our decades long mutually beneficial partnership with the Bonneville Power Administration.”

"I am excited to work with John in this new role," said  Lorri Gray, Columbia-Pacific Northwest Regional Director for the Bureau of Reclamation. "He has a wealth of experience and will serve the region well."

“Congratulations to John Hairston on his appointment as the administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration, said Brig. Gen. D. Peter Helmlinger, commander of the Corps of Engineers’ Northwestern Division..  We look forward to our continued partnership with both him and the BPA as we address the region’s fishery and hydropower priorities.”

DOE names John Hairston 16th BPA administrator and CEO - 01/07/21

Secretary Brouillette Names John Hairston Administrator and CEO of Bonneville Power Administration

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette named John Hairston as Administrator and CEO of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). Hairston has served as Acting Administrator and CEO since September 2020 and has dedicated the last 29 years to service at BPA in various positions. The Department conducted an open, fair, and transparent recruitment process in accordance with all applicable Federal laws and regulations and the Secretary appointed Mr. Hairston as the best qualified candidate for the position.

In this new role, Mr. Hairston will lead BPA, the Pacific Northwest’s Federal Power Marketing Administration, which: generates about $4 billion annually, provides roughly 27% of the electric power generated in the Northwestern United States, and maintains more than 15,000 circuit miles of high-voltage transmission line.

“John has made a lasting and significant impact on the Bonneville Power Administration over the past 29 years, and I am proud to announce him as the new Administrator,” said Secretary Brouillette. “BPA is an important provider of reliable, renewable hydroelectric and clean nuclear power to the Pacific Northwest, and John’s commitment to serve BPA will support the Department’s critical energy mission.”

Hairston has served in multiple capacities in BPA’s power services, and regulatory and compliance organizations, with his most recent role as Chief Operating Officer since September 2019, and Acting Administrator and CEO since September 2020. His wide range of experiences at BPA will be invaluable to representing the interests of the organization and region in broad policy establishment at the national level with officials of the Department of Energy, other agencies, and Congressional stakeholders concerning power resource development, interregional power coordination, transmission planning and operations, protection and mitigation of fish and wildlife, and new or modified legislation for the industry.

“I am truly honored and humbled by the opportunity to lead BPA during this dynamic time,  we will continue to deliver on our strategic goals in order to remain a long-term provider of choice for low-cost, reliable, and responsible carbon-free power,” said Hairston. “I will continue to work closely with BPA’s utility customers, Federal partners, State and local elected officials, tribal leaders and other stakeholders in the region to ensure the Federal power system continues to meet a diverse set of needs and purposes as we address the energy and environmental challenges facing the Northwest.”

More information about the Bonneville Power Administration can be found HERE.

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